Tuesday, 28 January 2014

Japanese Flower Blanket

Hello Lovelies!! I hope you are all having a great start to the week? 
I can not tell you how excited I am to be sharing this project with you. It's a soft, delicate project. An explosion of colour that has been growing over the past 2 and a half years and it's finally finished!!

Now this project is extra special, not because I'm totally in love with it, but because it's a project that Dennis and I have worked on together. 

I can not take the credit for the initial vision of this project, it was Dennis who started it way back in 2011. It was Dennis who stumbled upon the deliciously soft and vibrant Drops Alpaca Yarn on a trip to Norway and it was Dennis who made the colour choices and started this magnificent blanket.

It was me that copied it with my own version using my left over Stylcraft Special DK. 

Together we worked on our own individual blankets and it was together that we both lost interest in our blankets. 
Dennis lost interest in his blanket because of the huge amount work, colour changes and ends to sew in. We all know how working on a massive project can get a little tedious and so Dennis left it to work on his other fabulous projects. 
I lost interest in my blanket for a similar reasons. I was distracted by other projects, not to mention I  was a tad envious of how Dennis' blanket was turning out using the gorgeous Drops Yarn.
For the first time since discovering it, I was not satisfied with how the texture of the Stylecraft DK was turning out for this project and was preferring the look of the yummy alpaca yarn. 

As for the pattern for the Japanese Flower: It was becoming a bit of a trend in "crochet world" back in 2011 and the first time I saw it I was in love. 
The pattern was tricky to get hold of online and so Dennis and I researched the origins of the pattern. Thanks to a link from Lucy at Attic24, we were pointed in the right direction and found the beautiful pattern in a Japanese Crochet Book, Motif Book volume 4 by Nihan Vogue Sha. (It's available second hand for about $15. However, as a "heads up" it is in Japanese so you'll need to be able to read crochet diagrams).

I lost interest in my Japanese Flower Blanket, but not in the pattern and so back in 2011 decided to make my lovely mum a scarf using the same pattern:

After this scarf was finished I moved on to my next project, an Autumny granny stripe blanket.....

.........and somehow managed to forget about the Japanese Flower. 

Jump forward two years later and as I'm starting to prepare my belongings in Hamburg for a move to Stuttgart,  I stumble upon Dennis' Japanese Flower blanket bagged up and hiding at the bottom of our yarn box. It was crumpled up, bright and gorgeous ends hanging down like little roots to real flowers:

It sent my heart a fluttering and I knew that I had to complete this project. 
At the time Dennis was away working on a cruise ship and so during one of our regular Skype chats I asked him if he would mind if I finished the project he had started.  He was thrilled by the idea! 

Along with the blanket, Dennis had left some of the yarn along with the original labels, so it was easy for me to know which colours he was using and order extra yarn to continue the blanket. 
The Yarn is so delicious that each time a package would arrive full of yarn, I'd open it with a smile on my face and enjoy its soft texture as I squished the skeins between my fingers.

For those of you interested here are the colours that we used on our blanket:

Light Blue, 6205

Dark Turquoise, 2918 

Purple, 4050

Dark Lime, 2916

Dark Purple, 4400
Deep Pink, 2922

Pink, 2921
Orange, 2915

Goldenrod, 2923
Dark Green Grey, 7139
Red, 3620

With a fresh stash of yarn, I continued to work on the blanket Dennis had started.
Round by round I started to work on creating more and more of these beautiful flowers.

I made the flowers in batches.

Then with the fourth and final round, I'd join them onto the existing blanket. Before long the blanket started to grow and I was sat with a meadow of gorgeous flowers on my lap.
I followed the pattern that Dennis had started and tried to keep the colour choices as random as possible.

I loved how soft the yarn felt to work with. I sure wasn't the only one :-)

After a few months hard work the blanket was complete, although I stupidly hadn't sewn the ends in as I went along!!!!! EEEEEEEEK!!!!!

I made a little deal with myself that I wasn't allowed to share my lovely blanket with you until every last end was sewn in. This gave me a great motivation to get working on the ends. 

There were a lot of them!! 2920 ends in total!!!

Dennis and I worked together on sewing in the ends, whilst working our way through the TV series Greys Anatomy. 

As a team we made fast progress

Gradually our blanket had more complete flowers than incomplete .

The amount of cut of ends grew and I decided to save them as an end mark of how much work we had done.

I had been told by a few of you lovely readers to save the cut off ends and put them outside for the birds. I was told that the birds would use the little woollen strands on their nests for insulation. I loved the idea and will definitely be doing this with my left over ends.
I can only imagine what the local birds nests will look like!

After a couple of weeks of team work we were done with all of our ends! After two and a half years the blanket is FINISHED!!!!!!! 

Want to see it???!!!!


365 flowers in total.  149 of which Dennis made back in 2011 and the rest we added recently over the last couple of months.
It stretches right across our double bed, it's soft and luxurious and I'm so so happy with it. 

It's vibrant and fresh and drapes across our armchair like a gushing waterfall.

It adds sunshine to our bedroom and I can't wait to snuggle under it throughout the remaining Winter months.

It's a blanket that both Dennis and are so proud of, We worked hard on it together and it's a sure sign of our teamwork and shows our passion for creating together. 
I love this blanket because it's bright and beautiful, but mostly because we did it together! 

This post has moved!
You can read an updated and revised version on our new blog.

Click here to read this post in full at it's new home!

Sunday, 26 January 2014


Hello Cheeky Monkeys!! I hope you are all having a fun and creative week?
My week got off to a rather nice start when I spent my Monday at the zoo here in Stuttgart. 
There is nothing I like more than going to the zoo, it's one of my favourite things to do! 
It was my first visit to the zoo here in Stuttgart and was made extra special as Dennis' parents were in town visiting for a couple of days, so they came along for a day out with us. 
The zoo was a perfect place for us to walk around, to be mesmerised by the interesting animals and to have time to talk the day away. 

Of course I had my camera with me and took some snaps of the animals that I was lucky enough to spot that day:

I'm always so blown away by the vibrant colours of the animals.

 If I were a lizard I'd love to be a nice bright turquoise like this cute little fella.  

My favourite part of the zoo that day (not just because it was out of the cold) was the monkey house.
I could watch the crazy happenings of these guys all day!

It was a really lovely day! Spending time with Dennis' family, learning about the different species of animals and watching every single monkey have such a big personality!

It was also nice to see the monkeys as I was preparing myself for the following day, when I would play my first show here in Stuttgart as the role of Terk, Tarzan's best monkey friend.

I was extremely nervous, but in general it was a good show and I was really happy with how it went.
I hope that I can continue to grow in the role and look forward to having the chance to play it again tonight.

I may have finished sewing in the ends to my latest blanket, I'll reveal all soon!!! :-)
This post has moved!
You can read an updated and revised version on our new blog.

Click here to read this post in full at it's new home!